Teenage Dreams: Jesse McCartney Wanted by Jesse review

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     “Whatever happened to Jesse McCartney?”

     It’s a question young adults have asked each other on quiet car rides and between classes for the past five years at least. Now that his fan-base has grown up a bit, it’s hard not to wonder what really did happened to the “Beautiful Soul” singer, and why no one hears about him anymore. One moment everyone was dancing to his vocals at the middle school ball and jamming to “Bleeding Love” (which he co-wrote!), and the next… nothing at all. The truth is hardly as dramatic as it could’ve been: McCartney says he’s a little camera-shy is all, and has been steadily working on his acting career instead of blasting one album after another. He’s been on “Young & Hungry,” “Greek,” and most recently voiced Theodore in “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.” I think that’s great and all, but we need our dose of love songs and pretty smiles, too, Jesse!

     If you also count yourself among the older-than-average Jesse fans that watch “Keith” twice a week and have “In Technicolor” constantly on repeat, then I’ve got a treat for you today. Not a lot of people, including the avid celebrity scent collectors of the YouTubes, have their hands on this particular gem: Jesse McCartney’s signature perfume for women from 2011, titled Wanted by Jesse. This puppy came from FragranceNet.com, which not only has the newest beauty releases, but also the hard to find ones like this, for less (original 100 ml MSRP $57, sale price $14.99*). In fact, they’ve got 17 thousand items on their site, so if you can’t find an old favorite in department stores anymore I recommend checking them out (links below).

     The perfume, which also comes in a gift set with shower gel, body lotion and travel spray, was aimed by First American Brands at the 21 to 30 years old crowd. This was a questionable decision, because he was only 21 at the time himself and his dwindling fans even younger. First year sales for the Drom-created fragrance were predicted at about $15 million, a far cry from Katy Perry’s $80 million, but I have doubts that it even reached that. It seemed like no matter what McCartney did to keep his audience interested, they’d grown up and moved on. Even the lovesick tear shape of the bottle and a $7.5 million marketing campaign couldn’t keep the perfume relevant.

© Gil Segev 2016

© Gil Segev 2016

     All this is a darn shame, because of all the celebrity scents I’ve smelled in the past (and believe me, I’ve been around the block) this is probably one of the least generic and most pleasant smelling. Jesse’s intentions with Wanted (not that he had a real say – he made it very clear he didn’t understand much about scent in a particular interview) were to stray from Paris Hilton’s girly likes and dress a more mature woman. The top note is a tart bergamot and sugar mix that blends with vibrant fresh apple and a hint of caramel. It’s got a really nice vanilla and woodsy kind of base, and the whole thing is sparkling and effervescent with a hint of sweetness like a real teardrop that’s charged with emotion. It took me a while to pinpoint what it reminded me of, but in the end I realized that the resemblance to Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue (100 ml, $56.99*) is simply uncanny. It is a great dupe for the pricier designer best-seller, but also makes an excellent day-to-day or even date fragrance on its own. Who would’ve thought it? Longevity and projection are both mediocre, and it’s best for spring and summertime.

     Verdict: If you simply can’t move on from Jesse’s glory days, you can relive the fantasy with this perfume. It’s feminine, it’s gentle, and it’s still memorable. It’s also exactly the type of fragrance the leading lady in Jesse’s videos would smell of, the old-school sexy type with furs and jumpers and a glint in her eye that he would take for a ride in one of his fancy old cars. If your high school fantasy was to be wanted by Jesse (and who could blame you!), then Wanted by Jesse is a no-brainer.

*Prices true at time of writing.

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